COVID disrupted everything off and on for over two years. Now that most churches have returned to their preCOVID schedules, many are finding their numbers are a fraction of what they used to be. There are a lot of reasons for this. Let’s be honest, for families with children…which is easier – struggling to get everyone up, dressed and to church early on Sunday morning or everyone rolling out of bed to watch church on tv?
The problem is that merely watching church does not have the same benefits as actually attending worship and Bible class. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to encourage families to bring their kids to Bible class again.
- Home visits. Nothing shows you care like a visit to the home of a Bible student. If you have the money, take a little Christian book or activity. Talk about how much you miss having the child in class. Share some exciting things that will be happening in class over the next few weeks. If you really want to go the extra mile, invite the family to have lunch with you after services.
- Handwritten notes. Kids love getting mail! Cover some of the same topics you would have in a visit. Make sure you print carefully, so the child can read what you wrote. Want to go the extra mile? Blow up a balloon, write the note in Sharpie on it, then let the air out and mail the deflated balloon to your student. Make sure the student can still inflate the balloon or it can be too small to read. (Or use lemon juice as ”invisible ink”. Send the note with instructions they can read to hold it over a flashlight to see the rest of the letter.)
- Activities too exciting to miss. We aren’t talking about meaningless activities that are more about being silly than learning. Learning how Jacob and Joseph were made into mummies by mummifying a fish, riding a real donkey like Jesus, writing and acting in a play, creating a Bible museum….our website is full of hundreds of activities that are exciting and educational.
- Advertising ”coming events”. A lot of families are still attending church occasionally. At the end of class give students an idea of things to come in the next class. Leave an element of surprise so if nothing else, their curiosity will be sparked.
- Take a field trip after class. Have students bring a lunch or stop for fast food. Then take them somewhere they probably haven’t been before – like a local museum with artifacts from Bible cultures.
- Host a family service project. Most families still don’t spend enough quality time together. Doing service projects as a family can connect families emotionally to other families at church, making it more likely they will attend.
- Encourage mentoring relationships. Children and teens become extremely attached to their mentors and mentors can touch base each week and encourage attendance. While the mentors may technically be assigned to the children in a family, the parents often develop a relationship with mentors, too.
Don’t just assume your Bible students will never return to class. Take action! You may just be surprised to find that soon your attendance is higher than before COVID.